He was the son of Vicar Henry Raikes (1782-1854), Chancellor of the diocese of Chester and the grandson of Thomas Raikes, merchant and banker in London, who was Governor of the Bank of England (1797-1799) and a personal friend of prime minister William Pitt the Younger.
He married Charlotte Blanche Trevor-Roper of Plas Teg, Mold, daughter of Charles Blayney Trevor-Roper on 26 September 1861. He was the father of Vice-Admiral Cecil Dacre Staveley Raikes (1874-1947).Rt. Hon Henry Cecil Raikes lived in Llwynegrin Hall, Wales.He died on 24 August 1891.
He was successively Member of Parliament (MP) for Chester (1868–1880), Preston (1882) and Cambridge University (1882–1891), Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker of the British House of Commons 1874–1877 and Postmaster General 1886–1891.